The Last Word

Dear Ace:

I have always opposed religious indoctrination because it robs us of the ability to use the brains God gave us. One ends up spouting blatant contradictions without being able to see the obvious. I refer to Matthew Haltom's letter appearing in the June 6 issue. Mr. Haltom states, "Christ left us with an infallible Church." He goes on a mere three sentences later to refer to the "fall of the American Catholic Church" [emphasis mine]. If the Catholic Church is "infallible", and if the American Catholic Church is part of the Catholic Church (otherwise it wouldn't be "Catholic"), then how could it "fall"?

Mr. Haltom also spoke of the "chaos no infallible authority would bring." Isn't Jesus infallible enough for him? Does God need a bureaucracy?

My point is just this. If you want to know the truth, then forget about human authority. Forget about pompous Church officials, forget about Bible-banging, fire and brimstone Protestant preachers asking you to embrace idiocies like "The Bible is true because the Bible says the Bible is true" (or, similarly, "The Koran is true because the Koran says the Koran is true.")

Go directly to the source: start asking God directly for the truth, with a open mind, a sincere heart and a relentless spirit. If you need proof, then ask him to prove it to you and he will match your faith stride for stride. If you ask for understanding, then he will give you that. There's not a person on Earth who's ever done this who God has not answered with undeniable authority.

God asks us for faith, but not blind faith. Our ability to understand the truth of the Bible, the message of the Gospels, and God's plan for each of our lives doesn't need to depend on self-proclaimed human authority.

David Carnes

Ace has published a representative sampling of a voluminous response to Hal Crowther's cover story of May 30, and the Letters forum is now open to new topics

Vox Populi


I congratulate you on your editorial decision to print Ms. Kelly's op-ed letter first, before the letters following.

That sequence serves as a stark presentation of the difference between a well-thought-out position and the absurdity of papolatry.

Roy Broun


Letters Policy: Ace LOVES to publish our mail (250 words or less please); please include name and daytime phone. No photocopies. No bulk mail. First come, first served. We may edit for space and grammar; we will limit frequency; and, on popular issues, we may print one or two letters to represent a segment of public opinion. Private correspondence should be labeled “NOT FOR PUBLICATION.”

Mail: 486 West Second St , Lexington, Ky 40507

Thomas Shaughnessy, Director of Communications for the Lexington Diocese, addressed the media earlier this week.
Bishop Resigns

Bishop Kendrick Williams of Lexington resigned from the Catholic Church earlier this week, amid accusations of prior child sexual abuse. He was on administrative leave at the time of his resignation, accepted by the Vatican. The former Bishop denied the accusations. A local spokesperson for Lexington's Catholic diocese spoke about the resignation at a Tuesday morning press conference. (For more on this story, see Ace archives, May 30 and June 6.)

Market Celebrates Summer Solstice

The Lexington Farmers' Market will sponsor its Summer Solstice Festival on Saturday morning, June 15th, downtown on Vine Street.

Beginning at 10am, Lexington chef, Jonathan Lundy, of Jonathan's at Gratz Park Inn, will prepare and offer samples made from fresh summer produce items obtained on site.

Stem the tide on water pollution

Bluegrass Pride (Personal Responsibility In a Desirable Environment), the Kentucky River Authority, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission and the Kentucky River Watershed Watch are teaming up for the 11th annual Kentucky River Sweep and Reclaim the River June 15. Communities and individuals in a seven-state area are expected to participate in the event, including 33 counties in Kentucky.

Info, contact Bob Rasmusson at 859.624.4709 or bobr@kih.net.

Honoring Washington, and it’s not George

Freedom Trek III will come to Lexington on Saturday, June 15. For those asking, "What is Freedom Trek?" it is a five-state tour celebrating the contributions of Booker T. Washington. The Lexington stop will feature a Juneteenth celebration in honor of Washington’s lifelong struggle for liberty, education, and equality. Also planned are two historical reenactments. The first, Washington’s monologue on African-American patriotism, is to be held at the African American Cemetery #2 and is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. until noon. For the second, Rev. Thomas H. Peoples, Jr., and the congregation of the Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting a luncheon, which is a reenactment of Washington’s speech at the 1895 Atlanta Exposition on his successes in education. This luncheon is at 12:30 and will be for invited guests only.


The Nerve
by John Dale Butwell

Spin can really distort the cold, hard facts sometimes, even though it may mean the difference between a news story that's followed and one that isn't.

An ongoing story really needs a "spin" when it's dragged on for decades, like the debate over destroying the M-55 rockets full of nerve agents stored in igloos at the Bluegrass Army Depot between Berea and Richmond.

Even the bumper stickers you frequently see in Madison County, "Nerve gas incinerator-it's dead wrong," are old and tattered.

When Berea incineration opponent Craig Williams first started fighting the Army and its plans, he was carrying his son Dustin on his hip. "He's 6-foot-4 now," Williams quips.

Many are weary of this issue.

But the spin everyone seems to be taking on the latest news on destroying the nerve agents in our midst is so overly optimistic, I feel compelled to yammer about it again.

Lexington news writers, editorialists, and even incineration opponents themselves are taking it as "good news" that the Army is looking at three alternative ways to destroy the nerve agents, AS WELL AS incineration.

As well as. In addition to. But not "instead of."

Incineration, my friends, has NOT BEEN RULED OUT.

Until the Army says no way will it burn nerve agents and release the fumes into the air of heavily-populated Madison County, which is growing minute by minute, subdivision by subdivision, we can't breathe easy.

I don't care which alternative "closed loop" technology the Army chooses, just so it doesn't have the potential to release nerve agents or the poisonous byproducts of burning them-including heavy metals and dioxin-into Kentucky air.

Although all counties surrounding Madison could be affected, from teeming, urban Fayette to easygoing, rural Jackson-the counties most endangered are Clark and Estill, since the prevailing winds blow their way most of the time.

Ironically, like Johnstown before the flood, few Clark and Estill residents seem concerned about their imminent peril.

Instead in southern Madison's Berea-not downwind from the igloos-we have Mayor Clifford Kerby demanding that the stuff be burned,.

Berea is the kind of town which elects good mayors and sticks with them. It has only had three in its 100-plus years of existence. I went to high school with the mayor's daughters, and I like him okay. But on this issue he's wrong.

As I read his quotes in the newspaper, I can hear his croaking voice chuckling quietly at the dry humor in his comments, just like it does when he rides herd on his city council.

And I can hear the denial in his logic, just like he uses when-as a medical doctor-he argues that the cigarettes he chain-smokes can't really be that bad for you.

Kerby argues in favor of safe incineration, based on that studies conducted at Johnson Atoll and Tooele, Utah (although he fails to mention the repeated agent leaks at both incinerators).

"The fish are all fine; the birds aren't glowing in the dark; they didn't kill a single person," Kerby is quoted as saying. Even he admits that other processes could work, too, however, and those would be fine with him.

I wouldn't want to go overboard and suggest that the thousands of dollars his city has received in "emergency response" money from the Army might be influencing the mayor's views. But there IS that possibility.

Maybe it's just that Kerby, who was born in traditionally jobless Jackson County's Clover Bottom community, feels loyalty and gratitude for the Army for employing his late father Lloyd at the Bluegrass Army Depot over the years. Or maybe like the rest of us, he's just scared.

He's frequently acknowledged there could be "dangers" in any process, but insists that waiting is more dangerous.

Richmond Mayor Ann Durham has agreed, widely cited as saying, " It's time to get on with it."

Madison County Judge-Executive Kent Clark, meanwhile-the one with the Superman name-is adopting a "wait-and-see" attitude, considering all the alternatives. And incineration opponents claim alternative technologies may actually be quicker to implement than incineration.

It's simply wrong to imply the activists held things up.

They deserve part of the blame/credit, no doubt. But so does the Army for keeping the entire nerve-agent destruction program behind schedule for decades; for keeping the public suspicious of the Army itself by repeated deception; and for being too bull-headed to look at other options for many years.

If incineration opponents have made a career, and their livings, out of fighting the Army's plans-someone had to. In fact, a nationwide coalition against incineration had to be formed to give opponents any clout. I thank them for it. They're my heroes.

Williams' critics tend to be incinerator supporters, the Vietnam veteran and former Jackson County cabinet maker points out. "That's the common denominator," he says. "If they don't like what I'm doing, then everything I'm doing they don't like."

Nerve agent is stored in bulk at some sites, and is part of munitions at others. Recently, the Army chose chemical neutralization at its munitions site in Pueblo, CO-which was the Army's first such choice at a munitions site.

Naturally, that gave Williams (and the rest of us) some hope that this would pave the way.

In one way, Russia is ahead of the United States as it tries to destroy its own nerve-agent stockpiles using chemical neutralization. Incineration was purportedly rejected as an option.

I'm waiting to see what happens here. But I'm not holding my breath.

Nerve gas incineration was covered regularly by Ace in the 90s (see www.aceweekly.com, archives).

Ace occasionally publishes brief opinion essays by readers and writers on local news and neighborhood topics in this Guest Opinion space.

Guest Opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of Ace.

Submissions (600-800 words) can be emailed to editor@aceweekly.com.